B2S Prep: Positive Praise

Let's talk about rewarding positive behavior in class.  My students sit in table groups all throughout the year.  Never do they sit it rows, in a U-Shape, or in any other configuration, because they are always working in 4 teams.  Now, their table teams change often... about every 3 weeks.  I assign my students a new partner at the same time that I change up their tablemates.  In tables, my students work towards earning table points.  I keep these table points on the white board... nothing fancy.  When a table gets to FIVE points they are able to take off their shoes for the day.  They earn table points by working together, staying on task, keeping their area clean, going above and beyond, etc.

When a table gets to TEN points they are able to take off their shoes again AND choose a pass.  Now, it wasn't always this way.  I used to just go to five and only have my kiddos take their shoes off.  About halfway through the year I noticed my students needed a little extra motivation.  That's when they started working towards TEN points and a pass!  I don't always give my students something for good behavior.  I expect them to act appropriately and get their work done.  But, when you reward students as a team or table, it really helps everyone get involved in the working and cleaning.  Students don't want to be the one that causes their table to not get a point!  As soon as a table gets to ten points I erase and they get to start over immediately.  Each table works at their own pace (they can also lose points if needed).  Everyone starts over when I change seats/tables/partners.  

I wanted to get my passes all ready to go for next year.  So, before I left for the summer, I stapled THESE storage pockets to the wall, used THESE letters to label my rewards, and copied my rewards onto colored paper.
The 2nd pocket has our school-wide tickets that we can also give for good behavior.  Our principals collect all tickets at the end of the grading period and draw students for free ice cream passes :).  The third pocket is empty, but I plan to put stickers in there for easy access when I want to grab a sheet to pass out throughout the day! 

I keep my reward passes very simple.  I have tried several different ones throughout the years, but these are the most popular and least time consuming for the teacher.  You can grab the passes that I use HERE!

Okay, now let's move on to my favorite whole-class reward of ALL TIME...
My students absolutely LOVE to GoNoodle.  The brain breaks are just what we need when we are transitioning, just need a break, or have a few minutes to spare.  Often times I use GoNoodle as a reward.  If my students are on task, working, and have tidied up, then I will choose a GoNoodle Brain Break for them to do.  If I notice that my students are being lazy or aren't participating then I will choose a GoNoodle Champion!  The GoNoodle Champion gets to pick our next brain break!  Talk about involvement... once they know I'm looking for a GoNoodle Champion, they are all up and moving!  {For the most part everyone really loves to get up and dance, but you do have those few who just become WAY TOO COOL for everything in 2nd grade ;)}

And just for giggles, here is a little video of Joelle enjoying a GoNoodle before school started one day!  
I'm all about keeping things simple and cheap... I try to do things that I know I will be able to keep up with because if it's too complicated then I will give up!  Those are my favorite ways to reward students for positive behavior, but I always have to keep more tricks up my sleeve!  I'm constantly looking for new, fun ways to promote good behavior, and I'd love to hear your ideas below!

Before you go, make sure you head on over to Blog Hoppin' for this year's installment of #instagramchallenge #pictureoverload #winanipad #waitwhatsthatyousaid???!!

B2S Prep: Bulletin Boards

 Today I am over at Blog Hoppin' to share some of the bulletin boards that I redid before leaving for the summer!  You can check out all of those details HERE!
 While you are there, you might be interested in hoppin' around to some other blog posts that have recently been posted.  I found some really great ideas while I was browsing!!

Kristen always has the best techy tips!

 How cute are these classroom quotes from Mel?!
Another great idea from Kristen... organizing for a new year!

And I need to save this EOY slideshow idea from Katie for next year because I'm always making things too difficult!

Enjoy hoppin' around!

Back To School Prep: Math Madness

I am *****THIS***** lucky that I get to keep my bulletin boards (and really anything on the wall) in tact over the summer.  I can begin changing things up at the end of a school year rather than wait until August.  Trust me, I know how much of a blessing this is!  Some teachers like to remove themselves from their classroom for a while before making any changes but I like to do this while everything that worked/didn't work is still fresh on my mind.  I actually had my students help me do several things.  They helped guide some of the changes that I made {and then talked about how lucky my future students are because the classroom is now 1,000 times better than it was before... gee, thanks, kids!  Sometimes I forget how horrible they had it ;)}

I knew that I wanted Word Problem Strategies up on the wall.  So, I used these posters from my Workin' On Word Problem unit.  The angle makes it look like the burlap is covering the posters, but it really isn't!
I've had my number line down low for quite some time now.  But, I wasn't fond of the arrangement.  I decided to split it into two sections and hang my number words in the middle.  My Word Problem Strategies and 100s Pocket Chart anchor the sides of the number line!
In addition to my number line, word problem strategies, number words, and 100s chart, I also keep a Math Bulletin board to the top right.  We use this for anchor charts, math work, and vocabulary.  
Material and Pennant Banner:  Hobby Lobby
Border and Letters:  Mardel
I will post about the things to the right later on!  Also, I can staple to ALL of my walls.  Once again, I know how lucky I am!  I use material (for the most part) because it doesn't fade or crinkle over the year!

I also spent *quite a bit* of time organizing my math stuff!  I had 9 years worth of files cramming up 6 filing drawers.  Every.single.time I had to open that cabinet to find something I gave up.  I just couldn't handle the baggies flying up and trying to stuff everything back inside.  After 9 years of hating my filing cabinets, I finally tackled the MESS!  Now, instead of using 6 drawers, I only use 3... and they aren't even jam-packed!
 In my files I kept originals of activities that I find myself regularly pulling from.  I threw away thousands of worksheets... class sets that I thought I'd get to...and outdated junk!  Side-note... I had to use post-its to label my file folders because they are black!  I didn't want to take the time typing up labels... so I just stuck a post-it note on and wrote with a permanent marker!
After taking out printables and originals, I took all of the other "stuff" and organized them into math bins.  These bins are not for my students to utilize.  These are for me... to keep me more organized and on top of my game!  I divided my stuff into 10 categories because that's how many matching buckets I had!  I bought my chevron plastic bins from Wal-Mart.  The bins that I have are currently sold out online, but can be found in many Wal-Mart stores.  The main thing is that you need to be able to fit paper, baggies, books, and games.  So, they can't be a standard shoebox size.  Here are the dimensions of my bins:  14.6 x 11.4 x 6.68
Math Tub Labels:  Click HERE  (The labels are editable and I added a bunch more that you can choose from)

Inside of each math bin I have an assortment of things:  games, stations, cards, and pretty much anything that requires a baggie...
 And any books that I have on that topic.  So often I'm hunting down books to read aloud while teaching a topic and I just can't find it anywhere!  It never fails that I find it the second I move on to a different skill!  Now all of my books are tucked away in my math bins!
This project was definitely time consuming.  I did it over the course of a couple of weeks.  One day I went through and purged A LOT of stuff (with the help of my students).  The next day I went through and sorted all of my stuff.  Then I had to sort out baggie activities, books, printables, etc.  Once I had all of that done I had to get everything in either a bin or a file folder... and label it!  While it was a grueling process, I'm so glad that I did it!  This will surely help minimize my headaches and "where did I put that again?" moments!  My goal in the next 10 years is to do the same with my ELA stuff... no need to tackle everything all at once, ha!

Prepping Student Gifts & Rewards

I've mentioned this a few times before, but I spent a lot of May getting ready for the next school year.  Not because I like working like a crazy lady but because there is a *slight* chance that one of our sons is coming home from the Congo this summer.  Nothing gets me in prep mode quite like adoption does.  Not knowing when he will come home is not easy on so many levels... especially when it comes to preparing for a sub that you may or may not need at any given time.  I could seriously have busted my rear in May for no reason at all.  The good thing is that whether he comes home or not, now this stuff is ready and I won't have to worry about it in August!

So, since I prepped quite a bit, I have lots to share and I'll do that over a few blog posts throughout this summer!  This post is all about student rewards/prizes/gift bags.

Each year our school chooses a new theme.  We've done ocean, Olympics, superheroes, candy, and now PIRATES!  So, I prepped this little banner for above my classroom door.
Ribbon Banner:  Etsy
Gold Lettering:  PK Studios
Pirate Clipart:  Melonheadz

I decided that I would incorporate the new theme into my B2S gifts for my kiddos.  My plan is to have these little Pirate baggies out for Meet the Teacher Night.  Before I get into the contents I have to say that I went the easy route.  When prepping all of the gifts in this post, I knew tying up cute little gift bags with pretty ribbon would not be an option.  I prepped over 100 bags in all (you'll see why in a bit).  So, instead of making everything Pinterest-ready, I decided to purchase quart-sized Ziploc baggies.  I taped a tag on the outside and stuffed the goodies inside.  They are not frame-worthy, but I'm fairly certain my new 7 year olds won't care!  
 Each baggie contains an eye patch, mustache whistle, and pirate pencil.  I bought everything from Amazon (only because who doesn't love 2-day FREE shipping??!!  I get no referral money from them... I just shop there for EVERYTHING!!).  I put all 22 baggies into a tub and stored them away for next year!  Done and done!
Now onto the next reward bag!  Before we left for the summer my students got their "Get Ready to Be a Big Kid" booklets ready for the summer.  If my students bring these books back to me during the first week of school then they will get a prize from me.  A little incentive never hurt AND I love seeing my sweet babies again!
For these prize bags I did the same as above... taped a label on the outside of a baggie.  The label actually has ZERO to do with the gift inside, ha!  I don't know exactly how many kids will complete the challenge, so I just used numbers from the years past when making my bags.  Normally at least half of my students participate.  If I made too many bags I will just put the extra prizes into a prize box that I will use with my current class!
I ordered a whole bunch of randomness from Amazon to make my prize bags.  I didn't price things out too much because I wanted to use my Amazon Prime... but I think I got a decent prize on everything!
3.  Glasses

While I was putting prize bags together I realized I had enough stuff to go ahead and get birthday baggies ready also.  I had lots of stickers left over from years past... added in a random pencil and glasses!  When I get my class list I will write their names and birthdays on the outside of the baggies!
Now my birthday bags are all stored and ready to go!
My school uses Scholastic Summer Reading to track minutes that our students read over the summer.  It's not mandatory, but students that read 400 minutes receive an ice cream party at the beginning of the next school year.  To motivate my litter readers I use this cute little book craft from The Teacher Wife.  I've been doing this for several years and I always have great participation in summer reading!
To prod my students even a little more to read over the summer I offer rewards to students who meet our school goal.  So, they get an ice cream party AND a gift from me!  

A little side-note:  I totally left out the word "of" on this note, and didn't even realize it until after several comments, ha!  I'll just go in to my gift bags and pencil it in!  But, I fixed it on the download!  I look at these things a thousand times and still make mistakes!

So, while they may not be tied up beautifully with a ribbon, they are all prepped and ready to go!  When you are making birthday bags, B2S gift bags, Summer Reading bags, and Summer Challenge bags all at one time, you just want to get it done rather than worry about cute, ha!
You can get the three labels that I used HERE!

A Quick Rewind: EOY gifts

Let's do a quick rewind to the last week of school.  It seems like so long ago when I was in the classroom stressing over every little detail.  I had awards to make, a 2nd grade video to put together, student gifts to purchase, ohhhhh... and 7/8 year olds to entertain for a whole week!  

For end of the year gifts I put together a summer treat for my kiddos. 
I found all of these items at Wal-Mart... large crazy straws, popsicles, and Kool-Aid!  {I did only give out one popsicle per student, not five!!}
These tags are nothing wonderful, but if you can grab those HERE!


It's almost that time again! The time that thousands of teachers and bloggers head to Vegas for the annual SDE and Teachers Pay Teachers Conferences. To say we were excited would be an understatement! 

This year will be our 4th annual Vegas Teacher-Blogger Meet Up. What started as a fun little way to get to meet other teachers and bloggers from across the country, has turned into the BIGGEST teacher-blogger meet up ever!

Here are the details you'll want to know:

  • The meet up will be on Wednesday, July 8th, and will start at 6:30pm at the Venetian in the Galileo room. 
  • RSVP on our Facebook event page {HERE}
  • You will need to download, edit, and bring your own name tag.  Download the file {HERE!} Below is an example of how your name tag should look. 

  • You do not need to be a blogger to attend. All teachers are invited and welcome to come! 
  • Please be ready to have fun, meet people, and make new friends! Make sure to post pictures to social media using the hashtag #2015vegasmeetup.
  • Our main sponsors for this event are SDE and TPT, although we have dozens more who will be donating prizes, swag, and other fun stuff! You do not want to miss out on these awesome prizes!
    • Here is a peek at this year's DIAMOND sponsors:

Please take a look at our amazing sponsors, visit their websites, and if possible say thank you for supporting this event! We have never charged an entrance fee for this meet up and it's because of all these wonderful, generous sponsors!   



And just to help you get even more excited, here's a peek at the fun we had at last year's meet-up! This year is sure to be even 

All our happy prize winners from last year!

Can't wait to see you all there!!